Integration Working Group launches Limerick’s 3rd Integration Plan
Representatives of the Integration Working Group met with President and Mrs. Higgins prior to the launch.
The Limerick Integration Working Group unveiled its newest integration plan, Belonging to Limerick: Limerick City and County Integration Plan 2018-2022, on Friday September 28th at Thomond Park Stadium. The official launch by Limerick Mayor Cllr James Collins was preceded by a keynote speech by President of Ireland Michael D. Higgins, and response from Doras Luimní board member, Donnah Vuma.
The event included exhibits from local artists from migrant backgrounds, and performances by musicians from the Limerick Filipino and Polish communities, and the Limerick Gospel Choir. The crowd numbered over 250, made up of Limerick residents from all backgrounds, local service providers, and representatives of the 19 partner organizations that make up the Integration Working Group.
In his keynote address, President Higgins said: “We do best when we make the effort to understand and accept the complexity of identity. Moving on from simply ‘tolerating’ differences, we can embrace and celebrate what makes the newest ‘citizens of Limerick’ unique, understanding the importance of seeing culture as a process open to change in accordance with time, place and history, no one strand being asked to cede its identity to another.”
At the heart of this 5-year integration plan are the concepts of Belonging and Diversity Advantage. Belonging encapsulates a vision, a strategy and a future for Limerick and beyond. It is a desire and a hope shared by migrants to belong. Diversity advantage envisages migrants as resources for local economic, social and cultural development, not only vulnerable groups in need of supports and services. Migrants as the subject and not the object of change.
Migration and diversity offer a huge opportunity for Limerick. This plan emphasises the positive side of the balance sheet. Migration is good for the economy, addressing skills shortages, adding flexibility, capacity and diversity to the labour force and helping to create a more attractive environment to locate culturally diverse international business and global investment.
Eugene Quinn, National Director of JRS Ireland and Chairperson of the Limerick Integration Working Group, warned against a global rise in anti-immigrant rhetoric, with states becoming increasingly inward-looking and fearful. “There is a tendency to scapegoat those who are different, who do not speak like us, who do not look like us. We must fight the myths and misinformation about migration and the fear that generates. Irrespective of colour, creed or culture we share more in common than that which divides us. Diversity is good, it enriches us, challenges us and teaches us new ways of being and doing. This is why migrant integration strategies like Belonging to Limerick are so important.”
Leonie Kerins, CEO of Doras Luimní said:
“The launch was a resounding success, and we are incredibly grateful to everyone who came to support this new integration plan. The overwhelming support we have received goes to show this city’s commitment to a sustainable integration structure that holds all cultures, languages, traditions and people in high regard. We want this city’s residents, regardless of their backgrounds, to truly belong to Limerick, and I believe that Friday’s launch was a positive step toward achieving this goal.”
- Launch of Limerick Integration Working Group’s Belonging to Limerick: Limerick City and County Integration Plan 2018-2022 took place Friday, 28th September at Thomond Park Stadium
- Keynote address by President Michael D. Higgins, response by Doras Luimní board member Donnah Vuma, and official launch by Mayor of City and County of Limerick Cllr James Collins
- Over 250 people attended the event
- Belonging to Limerick is Limerick’s 3rd integration plan.
- The new plan focuses on education, information-sharing, awareness and access to public services as priority areas in effective cooperation between all Limerick residents.
- Eugene Quinn, Chairperson Limerick Integration Working Group and Director of JRS Ireland 086 821 4888
- Leonie Kerins, Limerick Integration Working Group member and CEO Doras Luimní 087 7447961